From The Innkeepers

March 2024


March 2024 Blog- Marking Time

Poet Maya Stein has a weekly practice called “10 Line Tuesday” that is accessible by requesting it from her website. I bring this up in our blog here because many of her lines have a unique way of illuminating life’s experiences. Plus, she encourages her readers to engage in this process as a way of setting aside time at least once a week to reflect on something that has made itself present in their daily lives. Some Tuesdays I actually engage in the process, often I do not.
Though it’s 2 days overdue and is something that will not be posted on our website until Friday March 1, I’ll try one of her 10 liners here. The theory is if you can’t say it in 10 lines, you need to clarify your thinking.

Thursday February 29. It’s Leap Day, 2024, a Leap Year. How did it get that name? How does anything? Isn’t it enough to say that it should feel like a big bonus, 24 whole extra hours. How will I show my appreciation for it? Celebrating it how? How do you show gratitude for a fabricated construct? Marking time is a ruse of accounting, a means for organizing our lives. For 3 years we ignore the fact that it takes longer than 365 days for the earth to circle the sun. Then on the 4th year we have to make up for that or the seasons would get all out of kilter. We have Pope Gregory the Thirteenth to thank for figuring that out, ergo the Gregorian calendar. I don’t care what you call it. I don’t particularly care who or how you calculated it. What I care about is how it is used. Time that is. We all have a finite amount of it. Tick-tock. It is fleeting. In the end will you be able to say, I did well with the amount given? *

Speaking of time, let me tell you that the creatures who inhabit our land with us have a biological clock that is getting fooled by global warming. Generally, we used to look forward to the return of the Canadian Geese, the Trumpeter Swans, and the Sand Hill Cranes, somewhere around the middle of March, usually no later than St. Patrick’s Day. Well, this year, it was hard to tell if our swans ever left. Throughout the winter, they would periodically reappear, and then they seemed to be absent again for a while. But they have been very consistently present since fairly early in the month of February. The geese made it back here shortly after Valentine’s Day, and my first sighting of the cranes was on the 25th of February. It is no accident that somehow the waterfowl knew we would have days above 60 degrees in the middle of February. The ice is now completely melted off the lake and the pond after a rain storm earlier in the week, so they are as happy as can be with lots of room to swim around in out there. So, what’s wrong with this picture? In more normal years that would have been a snow storm not a rain storm, the temperatures would have been much colder and in the middle of March our waterfowl would be vying for what little bit of open water was available in the still mostly frozen over lake. It used to make me laugh when seeing the geese coming in for a landing on the ice and slide about 10 feet before coming to a complete stop.

But climate change is no laughing matter. Admittedly this past month, I enjoyed the respite breaths of warm fresh air, even while knowing it is wrong for it to be this warm so early in the year. It was a relief when we had to drive down to Grand Rapids for an appointment, and we didn’t have to worry about snowy or icy roads. But how can a person feel relieved and worried all at the same time? I can’t help but wonder where these warming trends are taking us. Will our Michigan summers begin to bring in many more days where the temperature is consistently in the 90’s or even surpassing the 100 degree mark? No matter how it turns out, it will be the world of our own making.

Thank you for being a part of our world. We look forward to seeing you in the coming months.
Take care,
Marcia, Pat, Sharon, and Ryan
Keepers of the Rustic Gate

* Please Note: When Marcia typed the original on her computer the ten line poem took up exactly ten lines. The spacing is different on the website posting.